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October 5th, 2011

Hall Wins IBS 600-Yard Nationals with Rookie Ryan Hunt Second

Ryan Hunt Sam HallThe IBS 600-Yard Nationals was held this past weekend at the Midwest Benchrest Range in Yukon, Missouri. There was a good turn-out for the match, with 70 Light Gun (LG) entries and 68 Heavy Gun (HG) entries from all over the USA. Despite tough conditions (high winds on Friday, wicked mirage on Saturday), the top shooters turned in some impressive performances, including a 16-target average group size of 2.327 inches by overall Two-Gun Winner Sam Hall of North Carolina. No one was surprised to see Sam, a multi-time 600-yard Champ, come out on top. When he’s on his game, Sam’s hard to beat.

But the big story of the match was the superb shooting of Ryan Hunt from Missouri, a relative newcomer to the 600-yard benchrest game. Ryan finished second overall in the Two-Gun after finishing second in Light Gun (LG) group, third in LG score, and third in Heavy Gun (HG) group. Ryan’s average group size, for the entire match (both LG and HG) was 2.629 inches. That’s amazing marksmanship for a rookie… using a borrowed rifle!

CLICK HERE for Complete 2011 IBS 600-Yard Nationals Results with Equipment List (PDF).

Hunt Makes the Most of “Loaner” Rifle
What makes Hunt’s runner-up finish even more impressive is that, in both LG and HG, he used a borrowed gun, a 6mm Dasher in a new, 5″-wide Precision Rifle & Tools stock. Now get this — the very first time Ryan shot that gun was the day before the Nationals! Ryan told us the 5″-wide stock really tracked well, allowing him to shoot fast and accurately. Will we see more extra-wide stocks in Light Gun in the future? Ryan Hunt thinks so: “I think 5″ is the way to go. That’s all I’ll be shooting next year. The extra width really makes a difference in the way the gun tracks. You don’t have to worry about rolling or hopping. Just pull the trigger, slide her back and you’re on target. The biggest benefit from these 5″ stocks is that a Light Gun’s going to track like a Heavy Gun. When the mirage picks up, instead of following the dot, you can just trust the gun, the way it’s tracking. It really paid off last weekend.” It’s worth noting that Ryan did not use the old standby powders, Reloder 15 or Varget. In his Dasher, Ryan loads IMR 8208 XBR powder with Spencer bullets.

Ryan Hunt Sam Hall

Sam Hall with his Heavy Gun
Sam Hall Heavy Gun

Match Winner Sam Hall, like most of the top performers at the 2011 Nationals, shot a 6mm Dasher in both classes. But unlike Ryan Hunt, Sam used a “true heavy” in HG class. Sam’s mammoth Heavy Gun, dubbed “Black Max”, is featured in a Gun of the Week Article in our archives. You can see Sam practicing with this rig above. Sam hauls out his “heavy artillery” once a year for the Nationals: “This rig won’t see daylight again until the next Nationals.” In Light Gun, Sam used the same 17-pounder he’s used to win previous championships. It features a BAT action, Krieger Barrel and Shehane ST-1000 fiberglass Tracker stock. Sam shoots Berger bullets with Alliant Reloder 15 powder.

Tough Conditions Both Friday and Saturday
Sam told us: “All eight LG targets were shot Friday. And the Heavy class shot all eight on Saturday. Friday had winds of 13 to 18 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. Saturday was less windy, but was switchy. Mirage was some of the worst I’ve ever encountered. These conditions caused vertical groups.”

We asked Sam if he had any special strategies for the match: “My only strategy was to make sure I got my sighters right. Last year I misjudged some sighters on a gong. I thought I was centered but I was actually way high and right. I ended up shooting a small group, but the score was really bad. This year I made sure I knew where the sighters were actually hitting.” You can learn more about Sam and his rifles in a Gun of the Week Article from our archives.

Dashers and Cut-Rifled Barrels
6mmBR 6mm DasherA quick glance at the above equipment list for the Top 10 Two-Gun finishers, reveals the winning formula: 6mm Dasher in a cut-rifled barrel. Eight of the Top 10 competitors shot 6 Dashers in both classes, while another shot a 6 Dasher in HG and a 6 BRX in LG. That’s “Dasher Dominance” for sure. Among the barrels, cut-rifled tubes from Bartlein, Brux, and Krieger were favored by most of the top shooters. It’s hard to argue with success.

CLICK HERE for Complete 2011 IBS 600-Yard Nationals Results with Equipment List (PDF).

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October 5th, 2011

Balolia Named Captain as U.S. F-Open Team Prepares for Worlds

Shiraz BaloliaShiraz Balolia has recently been appointed as Captain of the U.S. F-Class Open Rifle Team. Balolia served as Vice Captain of the previous team and was one of eight American shooters at the last World Championship held in England in 2009. He was also one of four shooters in the International Team matches in England where Team USA won the Gold Medal. The step up from Vice Captain to Captain brings new responsibilities, but Balolia told us he accepts his new role “with honor and a fierce passion to lead the team to gold in the 2013 World Championship”.

USA Will Host 2013 F-Class World Championship
With the 2013 F-Class Championship being hosted by the United States for the first time ever, Balolia and the U.S. team are determined to win the Gold Medal on home soil. Team tryouts commenced in 2010 and will continue until the complete Development Team is selected in early 2012, from which the main 2013 team will be chosen. Balolia added: “I am excited to have been given the opportunity to lead this team into the next World Championship. The shooters we have are absolutely incredible, and everyone has a single goal in mind… and that is to Win!”

Shiraz Balolia

2013 F-Class World Championship | Raton, New Mexico (USA) | August 23-27, 2013

The next F-Class World Championship will be held in Raton, New Mexico, from August 23 to 27, 2013. This will be the fourth F-Class World Championship and first time it is being held in the United States. Previous F-Class World Championship venues were:

2002 – Ottawa, Canada. Won by the USA.
2005 – Bloemfontein, South Africa. Won by South Africa.
2009 – Bisley, England. Won by Great Britain.

As you can see, historically, home teams have won in the past two events. This bodes well for Team USA’s chances in 2013.

U.S. F-Class Championships Will Precede Worlds at Raton
Preceding the World Championship, the 2013 US F-Class National Championship will be held from August 18 to 22, 2013. All F-classers are welcome to register. With the U.S. and World Championships scheduled back-to-back, August 2013 should offer the most memorable 10 days of F-Class competition ever conducted in North America.

To learn more about the US F-Class Open Team, visit

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